Dballa's Weblog

Archive for the ‘Lord’s Supper’ Category

Declared Worthy

Declared Worthy Luke 15:1–3, 11–32 Lent 4 31-Mar-19

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 15:1–3(ESV) 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” 3 So he told them this parable:

Jesus tells another parable, which is a heavenly story using earthly means. The purpose of this parable is that the Pharisees and Jewish scribes were grumbling that Jesus receives sinners and eats with them. Apparently that was scandalous at the time. It today’s terms you could say that the Pharisees and Jewish scribes were haters. They didn’t consider themselves as sinners and they did not associate with sinners.

Jesus has some teaching and correction that needs to be done.

The Parable teaches that all are sinners. It is obvious the younger son is a sinner, but also the older son, why, because he refused to join the younger son who is a sinner. Please note that the older son loses nothing from an earthly value, but because of his judgemental viewpoint and not realizing the he also is a sinner loses everything eternal.

That didn’t the older son along with the Pharisee and Jewish scribes realize:

Psalm 51:5(ESV) 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

What did the younger son realize as the Psalmist:

Psalm 119:71(ESV) 71 It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.

The realization that we are not worthy to be in God’s presence.

Luke 15:17–19(ESV) 17 “But when he came to himself… I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

The younger son clearly states I am no longer worth to be called your son.

This is so true for all of us we are not worthy

Matthew 8:8–10(ESV) 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

Jesus praises the centurion’s faith and trust in Jesus, by the centurion’s admission that the centurion was not worthy. It is an admission, or you could say a confession.

So what is confession? When we confess the creed together we are stating this is what we believe. Likewise at the beginning of the Divine Service we confess together that we are sinners.

Psalm 5:5(ESV) 5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;

So something happens, so that we can stand before the living God, because by our nature, sinners cannot stand before God. What has changed? True contrition exists when a person not merely fears the temporal punishment of their sins, but also regards themself as eternally lost on account of their sins.

Luke 5:31–32(ESV) 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

This is the understanding the Jesus wanted the Pharisees, Jewish scribes and us to understand.

But do we understand it? How quick are we to judge others vs how quick are we to confess?

I am sure based upon my own experience: that it wasn’t easy for the younger son to swallow his pride and start heading back to his father.

But notice what happen when the younger son did? T

Luke 15:20(ESV) 20 …But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

Embraced Him, connection restored before confession

Luke 15:21(ESV) 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

I am no longer worthy, we are never worthy. Instead we are declared worthy by our Heavenly Father.

Who receives this sacrament worthily?

Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training. But that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.

Please note that Luther and the parable don’t require a perfect life. Nor do they go through a long list of all the things that we have done, instead the focus is that we believe and trust in the promises of God. The younger son would not have return to his father is he didn’t think there would be food. Likewise we come to the Lord’s Supper trusting in the promises of Jesus Christ, for in Christ we are declared worthy.

Luke 15:24(ESV) 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Why celebrate, for Sinners declared worthy, are still sinners, but they are also saints.

1 Corinthians 2:5(ESV) 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

So we come before Christ Jesus, not that we are better than anyone one else, we come, because Jesus “receives sinners and eats with them.”

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

March 30, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Unveiling the Mystery

Unveiling the Mystery
Luke 9:28–36
March 3, 2019

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Would you like to see God? Be Careful how you answer. Hebrews 12:29(ESV) 29 for our God is a consuming fire. Even Moses was not allowed to see God as Exodus 33:20(ESV) 20 But,” [God] said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”

St. Paul tells Timothy

1 Timothy 6:16(ESV) 16 [God] who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

So imagine the fear, that Peter, James and John had when they saw Jesus in His glory.

Sure they heard Jesus’ words Matthew 5:8(ESV) 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

But who had a pure heart?

Yet, there is hope. From the Old Testament Genesis 32:30(ESV) 30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”

What was different about Jacob’s encounter with God, well God had taken on flesh and blood and wrestled with Jacob. Jacob did see God in flesh and blood just like Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and wise men and many other who had seen Jesus and lived. Jesus hadn’t reveal His full Glory.

But now, Jesus the Christ is in His full glory, if only for a moment.

Why and how is this possible?The answer: Only through Christ do we have access to the Father Ephesians 2:18(ESV) 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

John 14:6(ESV) 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Through Christ not only do we have access to the Father, but we know Moses and Elijah Luke 9:30–31(ESV) 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

My guess is that is there were more saints of old, we would also know who there are, because of Jesus.

But while we are this side of heaven St. Paul notes 1 Corinthians 13:12(ESV) 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

For Jesus atones for the sins of the whole world. To reconcile the world back to God.

Romans 5:2(ESV) 2 Through [Christ] we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

We have Access to God through Christ, for Christ comes to us, first in the mystery of the incarnation, which we see when Jesus is born, through His word and by Means of Christ Body and Blood.

Luther reminds us

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.

The same Jesus without the glowing.

While we end the Epiphany season on a mountain top experience. Epiphany, the season is making known that Jesus is the Son of God, ends with not doubt. Here we see Jesus glowing in His glory, with Moses and Elijah.

From here is goes down hill so to speak, as Jesus heads to Jerusalem in order to suffer and die to complete God’s plan of salvation. But for now we have the uplifting event, seeing and hearing that Jesus is the Son of God.

This special event isn’t so much as a rah rah event, we don’t need fluffy words and a lot of excitement. Excitement can only take you so far, now we need the substance for the dreaded days are coming. That substance, that which keeps us going we see in the transfiguration, as Matthew 1:23(ESV) 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

No corporate speech here, because at the end they were to be silent.

This was privileged information, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God that God had indeed taken on our flesh, to redeem our flesh

So if we are looking for that Mountain top experience to help us in life daily struggles, we just need to unveil the Mystery and see Jesus.

As John 1:14(ESV) 14 the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Written by dballa

March 2, 2019 at 2:42 pm

Infinite Gifts in Finite Wrappings

Infinite Gifts in Finite Wrappings

Hebrews 1:1–6
Christmas Day
December 25, 2018

Philippians 1:2(ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome to the miracle of the birth of Jesus.

While most people think that babies don’t do much except eat sleep cry and poop the Baby Jesus does all of that and even more. For Jesus is the greatest gift the world has ever seen.

When you open a typical Christmas Gift, getting past the wrapping and the stuffing, you then receive the gift, and the wrappings and packaging can be recycled. We like the wrappings because of the surprise inside. But the size of the container may give us a clue what is inside. But once the gift is receive it is done and people move onto the next gift. However many would like to sell you the gift that keeps on giving, never ending gift unwrapping, think of the joy, i know think of the cleanup. But if there was no cleanup to receive one gift after another would be paradise. But we know that many claim to sell you the gift that keeps on giving it is just a marketing ploy. Unless of course you are talking about Jesus, but then again Jesus if given for free.

Jesus however isn’t a marketing ploy. Infinite Gifts in a Finite wrapping may sound like a conundrum or a marketing play. How can something finite that is something that has limits and boundaries contain something that is infinite without limits or boundaries. Jesus is more than just a small baby, for Jesus is also the Son of God.

God who is infinite who speaks Himself into His creation and becomes finite for the purpose of giving infinite gifts to a people who doesn’t derse any gift.

God who spoke by prophets now speaks directly to us through His Son.

But His Son is so small, but don’t look at the size of the gift to determine its value.

But yet how often to we equate gifts their size and cost it is not a fair comparison with something that is truly priceless. For God can take something so small. That He wraps His love for us in our own flesh and blood and shows that God and humanity are reconciled. The finite body of a little baby, and the radiance of the glory of God.

It is beyond our understanding, for we are finite people. We have a beginning and we have seen the end of many people. We realize that

WE only have so much money

We only have so much patience

We are only human right? We are limited.

While this is true is had led many down the wrong path, thinking that Jesus cannot be the infinite God. For how can the finine contain the infinite? But notice what Hebrews says

Hebrews 1:3–4(ESV) 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

Jesus is the glory of God.

Remember last night:

Luke 2:9(ESV) 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.

Yes, the glory of the Lord is bigger than a person, but Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature.

He is God, we are not. So while we have limitations of love, forgiveness, patience with others.

Yes, but Christ is true man yes human and true God.

He is unlimited in His gifts

He is unlimited in His Love

He forgives, restores and reconciles while we cannot

Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature

He uphold the universe by the word of His power

We receive this precious gift and just as John the Baptist leaped for joy at the Sounds of Mary’s greeting so also there is a change in us.

We leap for joy, We share God’s love and forgiveness

But we see our limitations and say I don’t have enough strength to be loving and forgiving all the time. Your are right you don’t, but that baby Jesus of finite form who is infinite in His gifts that He brings does. So we go back to the source of our strength. Not me myself and I, but back to the baby Jesus, the source of our love

The source of our forgiveness,

This is why we gather here at Peace Lutheran Church, to continue to receive God’s Word and Sacrament for God does not run out of Grace and mercy.

By the way, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Again many say how can bread and wine be the body and blood of Jesus. The bread and wine cannot be our body and blood, for we are finite.

But as the Baby Jesus as the author of the Hebrews notes

Hebrews 1:3(ESV) 3bhe upholds the universe by the word of his power.

So we gather each Lord’s day and receive unending gifts of Jesus. His love and mercy always ready for you. So we gather at the Lord’s Table to receive, for Jesus is of infinite gifts.

In the name of Jesus Amen.

Philippians 4:7(ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

December 25, 2018 at 7:45 am

Our Tragedy Reversed

Our Tragedy Reversed
Genesis 3:8–15
Pentecost 3
June 10, 2018

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

St. Paul notes Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

We realize that once words are spoken you cannot unspeak them.
You can say I’m sorry, but you cannot change the past, no matter how hard you want to.

In our Old Testament reading we see the results of humanity’s tragedy. Adam and Eve are going to be tossed out of the Garden of Eden. Adam would have to work the ground there would be thorns and thistles to make it hard, but that wasn’t the worst of it.

Sure we may know the jokes of Eve eating Adam out of house and home, but the worst of the worst may not be obvious.

Genesis 3:8 (ESV) 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Adam and Eve had lost their relationship with God, but the tragedy didn’t end there. They left the loving relationship with God and now they are embracing a negative relationship with the devil.

1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Notice the word devour, the devil doesn’t have your best interests in mind but his own, being devoured in the relationship. A relationship that is feeding off of Adam and Eve.

How do you get out of a bad relationship? What happens when you allow things consume you, like addictions. In the 12 step program for recovery,
The first 3 steps if I may paraphrase:
1. We admitted we were powerless over what ever is devouring us
2. Came to believe that God is greater than ourselves restores.
3. Turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.
How do you get out of a bad relationship, for Adam and Eve, they cannot. God does it for them. And that promise is also given, as one looks carefully to what God says.

What is going on here? God Created Adam and Eve in Perfect relationship, that relationship was broken. Adam and Eve are no longer connected with God but now because of sin they are attached to someone else.
Yes, Satan

Yes, Adam and Eve were deceived, but notice that God is really angry with Satan. Jesus notes in John 8:44 (ESV) 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

God wrath is poured out upon Satan.

Genesis 3:14–15 (ESV) 14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

God will put enmity, that is hostility between Even and the devil, why because of sin they are in relationship with each other.

God will have humanity removed from Satan
The how is explained in the rest of the of verse

The seed of Eve, will be the promise deliver, is the one who will make this separation.
Jesus the Christ, will strike Satan’s head, while Satan will strike to Christ’s heal.
Meaning Satan will be defeated, head crushed, and it there is a cost to Christ, His death on the cross, but as we know there is also a resurrection

How do we receive this separation from the unhealthy relationship with Satan.

Baptism liturgy starts: Depart you unclean spirit and make room for the Holy Spirit, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Humanity needs to be separated from its unhealthy relationship with Satan and only God can do it. And in vs 15 God makes that promise that it will happen, and it did.

Recovery from a hostile relationship with Satan is only possible through Christ.

Christ Jesus delivers us from the unhealthy relationship with Satan and re-attaches us to God the Heavenly Father our Creator.

Yes there are consequences to humanity’s action, but in the midst of those consequences there is also love. For Christ didn’t come to devour us, but to save us, to love us, to restore us to heal us, to make us better.

John 3:17 (ESV) 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

That is the mark of a healthy relationship vs an unhealthy. A healthy relationship loves and cares for the other person and is willing to make self-sacrifices. Jesus the Christ makes the ultimate self-sacrifice for you. Satan on the other hand seeks to devour, but lying and deceiving.

Eve was created as a complement a helper to Adam, in a beautiful healthy relationship in the Garden of Eden.
Notice Adam’s response when he first see Eve:
Genesis 2:23 (ESV) 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Now we live in a world where people seem to devour one another.

John 14:30 (ESV) 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me,

So when we are consumed by the people and things of this world, we return to the one who said that Satan has no claim on me, because He defeated Satan on the cross.

So when are we are consumed by this changes and challenges of this world, we return to Christ Jesus as He heals us with His own Body and Blood.

Romans 16:20 (ESV) 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

So we return to the one who is able to crush Satan, who buy us back from the unhealthy relationship of sin, gives us into the loving hands of the Father.

Christ Jesus is that way out of the bad and evil relationship, the ultimate tragedy is now restored, yes we live with the scars of sin while we are in this world, but soon we will have a glorious body in the resurrection, until that time we return here where Christ promises to be, as Christ bring us healing in our relationship with Him. Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

June 9, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Participation in Christ

Maundy Thursday
Participation in Christ
1 Corinthians 10:16-17

March 29,2018

Tonight we remember when our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ decided to celebrate the passover early with His disciples. Many things happened this Holy Thursday, beside the passover. You have the foot washing, institution of the Lord’s Supper, the betrayal from Judas, and the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.

This day is called Holy Thursday or Maunday Thursday. Maunday meaning command when Jesus gives two command to his disciples, that to love one another and the Eucharist that is the Lord’s Supper. Why Holy Thursday, well it is the Thursday of Holy Week, but we need to realize that this week in which the church celebrates these days are the events that makes us Holy, that is when God who is Holy touches us who are unholy, we become Holy.

Today we will focus upon the Lord’s Supper, Particularly as St. Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 10. This may sound kind of strange to use St. Paul’s words when St. Paul wasn’t even there when Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper. So wouldn’t St. Paul consider to be a secondary source, no. You need to remember the Christ spoke directly to St. Paul on the road to Damascus and St. Pauls describes himself as

1 Corinthians 15:7–8 (ESV) 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.


So what does St. Paul teach us?

1 Corinthians 10:16–17 (ESV) 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

The Cup of Blessing he calls it. The Lord’s Supper is a blessing. It is a blessing, but even during Luther’s day, many didn’t see it that way. In the Large Catechism Luther writes:

We must never regard the sacrament as a harmful thing from which we should flee, but as a pure, wholesome, soothing medicine that aids you and gives life in both soul and body. For where the soul is healed, the body is helped as well. Why, then, do we act as if the sacrament were a poison that would kill us if we ate of it?FOOTNOTE: Footnote

So the Lord’s Supper is a blessing, not a burden.

St. Paul also teaches that the Lord’s Supper is a participation in the Body & Blood of Christ.

St. Paul was not speaking of a sign of his body, or of a symbol, or of a figurative body, or of the power of his body but he was speaking of his true, essential body, which he gave into death for us, and of his true, essential blood, which was poured out for us on the tree of the cross for the forgiveness of sins.

We receive the bread and wine naturally, but the Body and Blood supernaturally, but it is still the body and blood of Christ. No wonder why early Christians were incorrectly called cannibals.

This isn’t something we make up in our head, but in which Christ tells us to do. It is Christ body and blood, because only Christ can be a blessing to us sinners. God is giving gifts, that is Christ.

St. Paul continues 1 Corinthians 10:17 (ESV) 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

St. Paul makes an interesting connection here. After he establishes that this is Christ body and blood, he moves into the reason why we also call the Lord’s Supper Holy Communion. We are made Holy by Christ, but we are in communion with each other as we are Holy in Christ. The emphasis here is that we are made into one body, by what Christ has done for us by the forgiveness of our sins, that is being made Holy.

Holy Communion with all believers throughout Time are part of this Holy Body of Christ.

To the Thief of the cross Jesus said today you will be with me in paradise, notice the timing, today, and Christ putting the thief with himself Christ, the one body. The Thief is with Christ, Christ with us, hence the Body of Christ. This includes all believers, those still breathing and those not still breathing, one in the body of Christ. Christ brings us into Him, We are not alone, but part of a mystical Union, much more gathering that what we see, when we come to the communion rail. That is why some. Christians refer to the Lord’s Supper as a mass, one mystical body of Christ.

So now the Maundy part of this day, A New Command I give you love one another, brings about another emphasis, that since we are one we love one another. This would make sense especially as we talk about the communion together part of the Lord’s Supper.

This is the wonderful connection, as Christ dies for all of humanity, and that Christ wants all people, His creation connected to Him. Why would His creation not once one another?

Yes, our ugly sinful self poke it head forward. So Christ has to spell it out, as we gather in communion, we proclaim the Lord death, not just for you but for all people. As we struggle with this loving one another, the communion of Christ brings that healing forgiveness that we need. For the Lord’s Supper is truly a participation in Christ, and a blessing that we need, as we are called by Christ into His body, as redeemed sons and daughters.

Written by dballa

March 29, 2018 at 1:06 pm

Posted in Lord's Supper, Sermons

Remember Whose You Are

Remember Whose You Are

1 John 3:1

Ash Wednesday


Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lent is the Church’s road to the Cross. It is marked by 40 days of Lent, not including Sundays. It begins today, Ash Wednesday and ends on Good Friday. During this time the church has it focus on remembering why Jesus the Christ had to die on the cross, for the forgiveness of sins and restoration of the human race.


Sackcloth and ashes, were a sign of of Grief & repentance.


Esther 4:1 (ESV) 1 When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry.


Jonah 3:4–5 (ESV) 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.


God sees the change in a person and then has mercy on the Jewish people in Esthen and the people of Nineveh.


So we have the Burning of the Palms into ashes as a way to get the ashes for Ash Wednesday.  This isn’t what the people of Nineveh did for Palm Sunday hadn’t yet occurred.  The church uses this custom to show how Quickly do we move from Palm Sunday, Adoring Jesus as King, to shouting crucify Him a few days later on Good Friday.


Just like Peter who we heard on Sunday, Mark 9:5 (ESV) 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

The great mountain top experience of the Transfiguration with no doubt later even celebrating the first Lord’s Supper on Maunday Thursday to a few hours later saying  to I don’t even know the man, that is to deny Jesus.


Why this change. As we burn the palms from Palm Sunday to make ashes for Ash Wednesday we realize our how powerful our Original Sin actually is. We realize what our sin has brought us and it is beyond our own help and understanding.


The Formula of Concord, one of our confessional books puts it this way, “Through Adam’s fall human   nature and our essence are completely corrupted. The damage is so indescribable that it cannot be recognized by our reason but only from God’s Word.”

The damage is so bad we can’t even see it, because our very reason is corrupted.  That is why Peter coming from the wow moment of the transfiguration would later deny Christ. This is why we need the promises of God through His word, we need the reconciliation of the Cross that is given to us through Baptism.

Our reconciliation first begins with Christ, as He reconciled us to Him through the cross, we receive this forgiveness directly through Holy Baptism which is a means to receive God’s forgiveness.  Once baptized we don’t just walk away, because we are still stained with that Original Sin, so we remember our Baptism, in our daily life. We remember why we needed God’s grace through Baptism.  

Also, as we have conflict with others we remind ourselves needed reconciliation with God. We are not perfect, but need God’s grace, so likewise why do we expect others to be perfect. Just as Christ had mercy on us shouldn’t we also have mercy on others, so that we can be reconciliation with others.

1 John 3:1 (ESV) 1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (through Holy Baptism, the verse continues) The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Please note the conflict. The World does not know Christ, but Christ wants all people saved.

Unfortunately there are some who don’t want reconciliation with God nor with us.

What does Christ do? He patiently waits until the last day, working through His Spirit in His own way, which may include us. So we who have God’s patient love, are now patient with those who don’t want reconciliation, just as Christ was patient with us.

So we remember our baptism as we come to the Lord’s Supper, remembering our need to be reconciled to God and how God comes to us through the waters of Holy Baptism. We come the Lord’s Supper for strength and mercy knowing like Peter, our Original Sin is great, and that we too praise our King with Palms, only later to deny our Savior with our many sins.

So during this road to the Cross, the season of Lent, we confess, we really need God grace each and daily, and so we have it. Remember your Baptism. Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Written by dballa

February 13, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Waiting for the Consolation

Waiting for the Consolation

Luke 2:22-40

First Sunday of Christmas

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas, it is still the Christmas Season. For as the song goes the church celebrates Christmas for 12 days. So don’t be afraid to say Merry Christmas when you greet someone, up through January 5th. On January 6th we move into the season of Epiphany.

So on the First Sunday of Christmas, we have the account of the baby Jesus being presented in the temple. Following the custom of the Law, Jesus was to be presented in the temple on the 40th day after his birth. Unbeknownst to Mary and Joseph, there was a special visitor waiting for them. His name Simeon, who had receive a unique promise from God. That unique promise was that he would see the Christ Child. How did Simeon know this was the Child Child, in the midst of so many families coming to the temple? By Faith. By Faith Simeon sees the small infant body and knows this is the promised Savior of the world. Human reason would not see the savior of the world in a baby. By faith, Simeon sees the divinity, God who takes on human flesh.

When Simeon see the Christ Child, he breaks out with Joy and

Luke 2:27–32 (ESV) 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

We call these words, the Nunc Dimittis, which means Now Depart. In the traditional liturgy of the church we use these words after Holy Communion. Not in the sece that we are ending the Divine Service soon, but there is a special significance of Simeon’s words.

Luke 2:25 (ESV) 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. What is that consolation? It is like a promised Peace and deliverance from God. It is an expectant Hope, that everything will be re-made, a peace that is beyond anything this world can provide, because only God can accomplish it.

Simeon then holds the baby Jesus in his arms and says,

Luke 2:29–30 (ESV) 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation

Simeon can go in the peace from God for God has kept His promise of Salvation. What, or who, is that salvation? Jesus! And this Jesus was presented before the eyes of all people as the salvation for Gentile and Jew. It wasn’t just for Simeon, but for all people.

Now, let’s consider Simeon’s words in light of their position after Holy Communion. It’s no accident that we sing them after the Sacrament of the altar. Recall the words we sing before the Sacrament—the Agnus Dei. How does that song conclude? With a prayer for peace: “O Christ, Thou Lamb of God, that takest away the sin of the world, grant us Thy peace.” This prayer is followed by the pastor’s words—“The peace of the Lord be with you.” And then we receive the Sacrament—the true body and blood of Jesus given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins—and hear the pastor dismiss us with these words: “Depart in joy and peace.”

With what words can we respond? Simeon’s! We confess that we are able to depart in peace precisely because we have seen God’s salvation in the Sacrament of the Altar. Our eyes have seen Christ, present in His body and blood, and we acknowledge that we have received the very peace for which we prayed in the Agnus Dei. This salvation is for us, for everyone.

In the Small Catechism What is the benefit of this eating and drinking in the Lord’s Supper? Luther writes, These words, Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sin.” shows us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sin, life and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sin, there is also life and salvation.”

And that’s a reason to sing it after receiving the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

What gives us Peace? Does being here as Peace Lutheran Church in Plainfield gives us true peace. It does as long as Peace continues to proclaim this Christ Child as the one who delivers the whole world from sin and death. For our true Peace comes from the incarnation, that is the Christ Child being true man and true God.

That is why in the prayer of the day, we prayed: O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Then notice what we asked for in the prayer, Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; Yes, by faith, we are alive in Christ Jesus, through the forgiveness of sins, which we received especially in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

May Christ continue to keep us alive as we also are Waiting for the Consolation of God.

In His Holy Name Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Written by dballa

December 30, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Lord's Supper, Sermons

It is all good, in Faith

It is all good, in Faith
Amos 5:18-24
November 12, 2017

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

If someone asked you, “Why do you come to church?” how would you answer? I have heard many answers like, My parents make me, an opportunity to talk to friends, to support and encouragement, maybe it is need the big question answered in your life.

May a better question to ask is does it matter why you are here in church?

The answer to that question can be seen in the Old Testament reading from Amos.

Amos 5:21–23 (ESV) 21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.

The reason why God takes no delight in the solemn assemblies during the time of Amos was that the people did not gather in faith. Luther says it this way: The Lord, however, wants people to worship Him in faith. The wicked do not please the Lord, regardless of how great and splendid their works may be.

So when Amos says, “Take away from me the noise of your songs.” It wasn’t because the people of Israel had invented RAP, for music genre, that is the type of music doesn’t matter. It is the faith that matters. Faith that trusts in God.

Everything is good when done through faith, even rap. Faith that trust in the promises of God. This is why when we gather here at Peace we proclaim God’s Word of promise, We administer that Word of Promise with Water, Bread and Wine, our Liturgy is focused on that promise, and our Lutheran hymnody brings out those promises of God, so that our faith is strengthen and grows with the promises of God’s Word.

Without faith, every thing is bad

1 Corinthians 11:29 (ESV) 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

What is discerning the body? Luther has a beautiful way of answering this in the Small Catechism, Who receives this sacrament worthily?
Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training. But that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” But anyone who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require all hearts to believe.

The Formula of Concord, part of our confessional documents says it this way:
We believe, teach, and confess that there is only one kind of unworthy guest, those who do not believe.

God gives you this faith through Holy Baptism, God feeds this faith through the Lord’s Supper, your faith hears the promises of God.

The Simple faith, that Jesus died on the cross for forgiveness of your sins. Faith that trusts that you need a Savior.

So if someone asks you, “Why do you go to Peace Lutheran church?” you can say that “I gather at Peace Lutheran church every week, for there the Gifts of God are waiting for me.” This is the reason why we gather at Peace every week, to receive the gifts of God, His Grace.

Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

In Christ Holy Name, Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

November 11, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Lord’s Supper: Food for the Soul

Healthy eating is good for the body. Watching what we eat is import. I usually watch what I eat, since I watch the food get on the fork and then place it is my mouth. All joking aside, I do my best to eat healthy.

But what about the food that sustains the soul. We usually don’t think of consuming food to nourish the soul, We usually think that God’s Word will take care of that. While that is true, when God’s Word is attached to bread and wine, something special happens. Luther in the Large Catechism calls the Lord Supper “food of the soul, for it nourishes and strengthens the new creature….Therefore the Lord’s Supper is given as a daily food and sustenance so that our faith may be refreshed and strengthened and that it may not succumb in the struggle but become stronger and stronger.” The Soul like the body needs to be feed.

Not every one in today’s world eats well for the body. While running I notice the wording on T-shirts as I am being passed. I saw one, which said, “I run so I can eat.” While humorous, the opposite is actually true, I eat so that I can run. I need the nourishment from the food to sustain my running activity, or else the running won’t go well. Yes, I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

Likewise, the soul needs to be fed, or else, as Luther notes, we struggle with sin and its temptations. The Lord Supper is given to strengthen our faith, so that we and not fall to struggles in the faith.

Luther even has word for the pastor regarding this, he notes, “we should preach in such a way that the people make themselves come without our law and just plain compel us pastors to administer the sacrament to them.”

Would it be a burden to celebration the Lord’s Supper at every service, no, it is my joy to do so. So also when I visit people in the hospital I also bring my communion kit. The Supper is not forced upon anyone, but made available for the feeding of the soul.

So join us at the Lord’s Supper where the Soul is fed.

Pastor Balla

Written by dballa

July 25, 2017 at 3:42 pm